Sport and Spines: Winter and whiplash

Slippery roads and accidents can lead to whiplash

Jamie Magpantay/Spine and Sports

Winter weather is upon us, hot chocolate, snow falls, frosty temperatures and slippery roads are in full swing.

During this time of year, motor vehicle accidents also become more prevalent.

Car accidents may cause numerous injuries, the most common of which being whiplash.

According to ICBC statistics, speed is the No. 1 contributing factor that causes car accidents in the Okanagan.

It is especially important to drive within the speed limits, and without distraction at the intersections of 32nd St. and 25th Ave. as well as 32nd St. and 43rd Ave. in Vernon.

They are the two most common locations where car accidents occur.

Related: Snow plagues Vernon roadways

Related: Treacherous road conditions causing crashes around the Central Okanagan

Whiplash associated disorders occur due to the rapid forward and backward movement of the head and neck.

Symptoms include neck pain, headache, stiffness, shoulder pain, back pain, numbness, dizziness, and sleeping difficulties.

Whiplash is a broad term for the possible injuries of more than 30 muscles, seven ligaments, 21 joints, six discs, and numerous nerves in and around the neck.

It is up to the treating therapist to determine what specifically is injured and how to treat it.

Symptoms can range from mild to moderate, heal quickly or become chronic, and it may present immediately or weeks after the injury.

What do you do when you’ve been injured in a car accident? Confused about who to see? You are not alone.

A team approach is the best: physiotherapy, chiropractic care and massage.

A thorough history of your injuries and complaints of pain is the start, followed by a full musculoskeletal exam. Then treatment can begin.

This can range from joint mobilizations, massage techniques, acupuncture, dry needling, Active Release Technique, exercise therapy and sometimes joint manipulation.

Education is of utmost importance. Icing, heating and posture care can also be critical in settling down the acute phase.

Be proactive and also make an appointment with an ICBC caseworker. ICBC recognizes and supports chiropractic, physiotherapy and massage.

You will need a claim number to be covered for treatments. As previously mentioned, a team approach is best.

This also includes your doctor. Formulate your team and be an active participant.

Tips for proper head rest position to protect your neck. Adjust the height of the headrest so it rests in the middle of your head, align your earlobe between the collar bone and neck muscles, then adjust the headrest forwards until it meets the back of your head.

Drive safely and stay positive about your healing. Whiplash is a very successfully treated condition.

Jamie Magpantay is a chiropractor at Spine and Sports North End.

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